Printed letters, April 30, 2013
The historic dream to elevate Colorado National Monument to a national park is well on its way. The cities of Fruita, Grand Junction and Palisade helped lead our grassroots charge. A host of others, including the Colorado National Monument Association, Grand Junction Economic Partnership and Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce have followed, with good reason.
Visitors don’t use schools or services, but their dollars benefit both. Grand Valley lodging and sales tax revenues are down, and Mesa County unemployment numbers are up, above 9 percent. Tour groups land at our airport only to leave for national parks (costing the Grand Valley hundreds of thousands in estimated losses). Park status means they’ll stay and enjoy our valley’s shops, wineries and recreation.
Ancient ruins and petroglyphs, fossils, footprints, thousand-year-old pinons and a colossal collage of time tell a fascinating story. Yes, our monument qualifies for national park status.
Years of study confirm park status won’t change air quality, boundaries, Glade Park access or a single rule or regulation.
That Tillie Bishop, Bernie Buescher, Tim Foster, Jamie Hamilton, Bruce Benge, Josh Penry, Robert Bray, Jack Neckels and numerous other leaders, citizens, hikers and bikers evaluated the facts and chose to support creating a national park should speak volumes to our community about its intrinsic value.
Our community stands together now, as it once stood behind John Otto in 1907, to create something truly great and unselfish for generations to come.
Wallace Stegnar was right. “National Parks are the best idea we ever had,” he said. “Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best, rather than our worst.”
The time for legislation is here. Our community will help Rep. Scott Tipton and Sen. Mark Udall draft it.
If you’ve ever marveled at the monument’s shadows and light, powered your bike beyond its winding crest, hiked its sheltering canyons or reflected from a “private” precipice, you already get it.
Thanks for your support. Learn more at gjforparkstatus.com.
TERRI L. CHAPPELL
Grand Junction Region Citizens for a National Park
Change to national park could create access problems
All the politicos like to promote changing the monument to a national park with all the perceived benefit. But the change could be negative to residents of Grand Valley.
Ask Montrose what financial benefit came with changing to Black Canyon National Park. You used to go to the Portal State Park just by telling the gate you were passing through (think Glade Park). Now, you have to buy a park pass to use 200 feet of their road.
They now charge a fee to hike down old public trails to the river. The government is continually restricting access to land with road closure and bogus wilderness study areas.
The more areas closed or fees charged, the less the common people will come and quality of life, job opportunity and incomes will decline.
Secure border before passing immigration-reform bills
Both parties are selling us a bill of goods. Without a secure border, immigration reform will never work. I listened to a congressman explaining how it will give us access to a whole new group of people with skills.
What skills? We have a couple million college graduates applying for work at McDonalds. Let’s get them to work first.
How many illegals do you think look at the fence and say, “If I can get across, there’s a job for me at Microsoft”? They need to look into climbing a fence into India or China. That’s where Apple, Verizon and G.E. do the hiring.
I’m not against immigration. I’m against buying voter blocs.
Early education program works wonders for kids
On April 19, members of the Early Education department of School District 51 held a fundraiser at the Texas Roadhouse. It was a smashing success, with more than 735 tickets sold.
Thanks to Brandon and Mike at Texas Roadhouse for their incredible support by hosting these large fundraisers. We also give our thanks to the helpful and cheerful restaurant staff and to City Market for donating dessert.
The hard work of more than 100 parents, teachers and staff members who volunteered for the fundraiser is a direct reflection of the dedication we all have to the program. I can never adequately express our gratitude for what the program has done for our son.
The other day I watched our teacher comfort a boy overcome with frustration. As she hugged him and gently guided him back to his task, I teared up, thinking of the countless times she helped my little guy understand and navigate a world that used to be so confusing and overwhelming to him.
The final thank-yous of this letter go to the amazing staff of the Early Education program who unlock the potential of our kids and let them blossom.